I have a difficult name – the first and the last names are unfamiliar. I haven’t met another Dunrie, and the only Greilings I have ever met are relations. People mess up the spelling, they don’t know how to hear it, they think Dunrie is my last name a lot and ask for my first name.
I’ve developed a few patterns to try to avoid certain common misconceptions about my name. It’s often misheard as “Dumrie” instead of Dunrie, so when I spell it out, I often say “N as in Nancy.”
Well, I went to a neighborhood coffee shop last week, after the morning rush. I was the only person in line and the cashier (who, I believe, is also the owner) asked me my name to keep with the order. She started to write “D U” on the slip, and then when she heard “N as in Nancy” she crossed off the D and the U and said, “I’ll put it under Nancy.”
What I should have said was, please don’t. People have special sense for their name. I would have heard Dunrie when the barista called it into the noisy coffee shop. I had to listen for Nancy. Besides, there was no one behind me, so I’m not sure what the personal or professional loss would have been to attend to the last four letters of my actual name.
What did I say? Nothing. I moved along, listened for “Nancy” and took Nancy’s fancy tea latte. I felt cross and misunderstood. Efficiency 1; Customer Service 0.
It’s a Dale Carnegie truism that almost nothing is more melodious to a person than her name. Maybe the shop owner was having a bad or busy moment that wasn’t obvious to me. Yet, it’s hard to make me feel more unwelcome in your shop than refusing to get my name right.